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Cablegate: Swedish Parliament's Foreign Affairs Leaders On

VZCZCXRO7988
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSM #0051/01 0221556
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 221556Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3080
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0068

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 STOCKHOLM 000051

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/12/2017
TAGS: PREL MOPS PGOV YI AF SW
SUBJECT: SWEDISH PARLIAMENT'S FOREIGN AFFAIRS LEADERS ON
AFGHANISTAN, KOSOVO

REF: LJUBLJANA 20 Classified By: DCM Robert Silverman for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d). Summary -------

1. (C) Charge discussed Sweden's role in Afghanistan and Kosovo in separate meetings January 16 and 17 with Goran Lennmarker and Urban Ahlin, the government and the opposition leaders in the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee. Lennmarker and Ahlin both saw room for increases in the number of Swedish troops in Afghanistan. The Swedish deployment to Afghanistan comes up for extension in late 2008, and Ahlin asked us to help in telling the story of the humanitarian role Sweden's troops play. Ahlin lamented the government's go-slow policy on Kosovo recognition and asked for legal points on the Kosovo independence issue and UNSCR 1244. See action requests at para 8. End Summary. Afghanistan -----------

2. (C) Charge d'Affaires met January 16 with Goran Lennmarker, Chairman of Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, and January 17 with Urban Ahlin, vice-Chairman of the Committee and Foreign Policy Spokesman for the opposition Social Democrats. On Afghanistan, both noted that Sweden had authority to increase deployments to the Sweden-led PRT in Mazar-e Sharif from current levels of 365 to as many as 600. Ahlin emphasized that Parliament granted the government this flexibility in order to enable it to respond to unforeseen difficulties. As the price extracted by the Social Democrats for their consensus support of this Government-proposed increase in May 2007, the term of authorization had been shortened, and will expire in December 2008. This will mean that the deployment and authorized levels will come up for review and re-authorization in the Fall of 2008. As before, the proposed authorization would be limited to the Mazar-e Sharif PRT area and to peace-keeping rather than peacemaking activities.

3. (C) In anticipation of the debate on this extension, Ahlin emphasized it would be necessary for the Social Democrats to be able to explain why they are supporting the UN's and NATO's efforts in Afghanistan. This story could best be told by Afghanis. Ahlin asked for our help in getting a senior Afghanistan government official to come to Sweden to relate humanitarian stories such as how the Swedish and NATO efforts are allowing girls to go to school, keeping the country from being taken over by drug lords, and keeping the Taliban from oppressing the people. Ahlin suggested it would be useful for NATO to distribute at its Bucharest summit a sheet telling the story of NATO's humanitarian role in Afghanistan.

4. (C) Regarding the possibility of Sweden sending JAS Gripen fighters to Afghanistan, Ahlin said the Social Democrats had told the Moderate-led Alliance government they would not agree to this mission. Afghanis would not be able to distinguish Swedish planes from those of countries engaged in combat operations in Iraq, per Ahlin. (Note: The Swedish military continues to argue for a Gripen mission to Afghanistan,) Kosovo and the Balkans ----------------------

5. (C) Ahlin said he disagreed with the go-slow approach that Foreign Minister Bildt and the MFA are taking on the recognition of Kosovo (reftel). At the same time, it was important for the government to be able to justify legally the position it takes on Kosovo's independence. Sweden is a legalistic society, and gives great deference to the UN, he continued. Swedish concerns about provisions in UNSCR 1244 regarding the independence of Kosovo and the sovereignty of Serbia need to be addressed. Ahlin asked us to provide information on the U.S. legal interpretation of these provisions of UNSCR 1244. Concerns about Russia ---------------------

6. (C) Both Lennmarker and Ahlin said Sweden has serious concerns about the direction Russia is taking. Lennmarker, referring to his role as the head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, underscored the importance of keeping the West's doors opened for Russia's neighbors. NATO needed to provide an opening and hope for Georgia and Ukraine, and he recommended that NATO unveil "creative thinking" in its April Summit in Bucharest. He recalled the important signal the Baltic Charter played in the 1990's as a model. Lennmarker added that he was meeting with Solana and would push for the EU to intensify it engagement in Georgia and Ukraine. STOCKHOLM 00000051 002 OF 002 Comment -------

7. (C) Ahlin noted that he is perceived as being on the right wing of his party on security issues and relations with the U.S. He is well-wired across the spectrum in Stockholm, and is willing to play a useful role regarding Afghanistan and Kosovo. Lennmarker defers to FM Bildt, as does the rest of the government's foreign policy apparatus. Action Request --------------

8. (C) We request assistance to respond to Ahlin's two requests for our help on Afghanistan and Kosovo: -- On Afghanistan, to help arrange for the testimony of a senior Afghan government official before the Swedish Parliament in order to explain the humanitarian contribution of the Swedish-led PRT. Per Ahlin, this would help the Swedish Parliament in extending the mandate of the Swedish-led PRT; -- On Kosovo, to provide information on the U.S. legal interpretation of the provisions of UNSCR 1244 dealing with the sovereignty of Serbia and independence of Kosovo. WOOD

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